Cherries May Reduce Gout Flare-Ups
Tart cherries are becoming a natural pain-fighting tool for gout pain sufferers. The huge interest is due to the overwhelming number of research studies and also the word of mouth of fellow gout sufferers who strongly believe in its inflammation fighting properties.
The idea that cherries may reduce inflammation not a new concept. In fact, stories of tart cherries and their pain- and disease-fighting abilities have been passed down for generations — the earliest scientific research may go as far back as the 1950s.
What’s the Big Deal?
According to researchers out of the University of Michigan, consuming about 20 tart cherries per day can reduce your risk of gout flare-ups. This is because cherries may inhibit COX 1 and COX 2 enzymes (natural pain response enzymes) and doing so, they halt inflammation in the body.
The research supports a theory that tart cherries behave in the same way as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), like Aspirin and ibuprofen.
NSAIDs work by blocking chemical messages in the body to keep them from responding or attaching to COX 1 and COX 2 inhibitors. If the messages aren’t delivered, the body can’t become inflamed and feel pain.
What is great about tart cherries is they are natural so you don’t have to worry about side effects like stomach damage, a complication of long-term NSAID use.
Cherries May Lower Uric Acid
Cherries carry a rich supply of antioxidants, which are important because they inhibit chemical reactions that produce free radicals (like COX 1 and COX 2). These free radicals lead to damage of cells through processes like inflammation.
The antioxidant properties in cherries may also work to reduce uric acid levels.
As you may know, gout pain is the result of uric acid building up the body. Uric acid causes crystal-like formations that use the bloodstream to travel through the entire body. These crystals cause the pain, swelling and redness associated with gout.
Boston University researchers conducted a study about the relationship between cherry consumption and the risk of recurrent gout flares. The 633 gout patients were observed over period of one year.
The results of the study found that cherry intake over a two-day period was associated with a 35 percent decreased risk for gout flares, compared to no consumption. Using cherry extract further lowered the risk for recurrent gout attacks.
The risk was even lower — at 75 percent — when cherry consumption was combined with a commonly prescribed gout medication, allopurinol.
Consuming Cherries for Gout
In addition to their uric and inflammation lowering properties, tart cherries are also known for their ability to help with sleeplessness, cancer prevention, reducing risks of heart disease, halting muscle damage, and promoting healing in sports injuries.
You could possibly get all these benefits and more by consuming cherries — either by juice concentrate, dried cherries, fresh cherries, cherry extract, and/or tart cherry supplements.